There is a wealth of academic and practical evidence which demonstrates that play-centred learning and development in the early years of our children’s lives equips them to become better learners as they progress through school and wider life development. In fact, the Welsh Government’s own early years education policy is centred on learning through play.
A 2018 report from UNICEF entitled “Learning through play - Strengthening learning through play in early childhood education programmes” states that “Children learn critical skills and develop as they play”. The report goes onto say “More generally, play satisfies a basic human need to express imagination, curiosity and creativity, which are key resources in a knowledge-driven world.”
This process cannot be limited to the school environment alone. It must also take place outside of school with input from parents, but parents must be supported in being able to deliver wider and more varied play opportunities for their children. That’s why the local playground has been, and remains, such a valuable community and environmental resource.
Therefore it cannot be right that in some areas of Penarth, children have access to playgrounds that meet modern design and health and safety standards, while others have to make do with run-down, less modern and often vandalised facilities in their locality, e.g. Victoria Park and St Cyres Park (St David’s Crescent).
There’s also a wider environmental community benefit in terms of local play. If parents have modern, well-equipped and safe playgrounds on their doorstep they will not have to travel further afield in order to provide their children with play opportunities which inevitably reduces the need to jump into the car and therefore reduces emissions in the locality.
We, the undersigned, therefore call on the Vale of Glamorgan Council to give all the children of Penarth an equal play experience by investing in all playgrounds in the town to bring them up to modern design and health & safety standards. Playgrounds like Victoria Park and St Cyres Park.